Day 14 of Summer Trip 2014 – The launch!

Well I found it particularly hard to get to sleep last night! I spent ages running through all the scenarios of things that could go wrong, mostly maneuvering Excalibur around the marina, getting slammed sideways into moored boats, their anchors tearing holes into the side of Excalibur and me powerless to do anything about it! Enough to give anyone nightmares!

I woke up at 5am, then 7am and eventually got out of bed by 9am and started my morning routine of facebook, news, wheetabix and flipboard whilst listening to a bit of 80’s absolute radio.

I took a walk over to the yard guys who had just put a motorboat in the water by crane with incredible speed and precision! Before I knew it they had decided to squeeze me in straight away (11am).

I raced back to the boat, final tidy up and within minutes they reversed the tractor into position, lifted Excalibur by the cradle and positioned her by the crane ready to be lifted in. Once the strops had been secured the cradle supports were taken away and I was able to anti-foul parts of the hull that were inaccessible (where the cradle arms had precariously been placed).


Given the shape and curvature of Excalibur’s hull, it always looks like the strop at the front is going to just slide off as the boat is being lifted up by the crane. There were some horrible jerking noises as the back end lifted up before the front. There was of course nothing to worry about, but I felt a sigh of relief once Excalibur was positioned over the water, if she fell once over the water she’d be fine I thought 🙂

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Once Excalibur was back in the water I gave her a quick once over for leaks, and Kevin tightened up the stern gland as it was dripping a bit. I had been given an easy pontoon to stay on for the night, so gingerly set off, with a little push from one of the guys from the yard to set me off in the right direction. I set up bow, stern and a line on the cleat on the midship, and flaked the lines along the guardrails to the midship. Moment of truth. I slowly glided towards the pontoon. Some boats loose steerage if the boat is going too slow, as there needs to be a certain amount of water flowing over the rudder to steer the boat. Excalibur is amazing though, and even at a crawl she can still be steered. As I approached the pontoon, I did what felt very unnatural, and left the boat unmanned, stepped onto the pontoon and got the midship line on a cleat, then the stern, and then the bow. I looked around for some form of recognition of my monumental achievement, but there was none, but in my mind the crowd went wild! 😉

After 20 minutes, I discovered I was on the wrong pontoon. It was a forgivable mistake. I was told to moor up behind a catamaran, that had subsequently left by the time I had arrived, so I had a 50/50 chance of getting onto the correct hammerhead pontoon.

Take two. Thinking I had it sussed, I did everything exactly the same. This time though, after getting the midship line on a cleat on the pontoon, the bow careered slowly into the pontoon before I could get the stern line on. The crowd didn’t go wild, and although there was no damage, it was shoddy work. C+!

Better luck next time.

The budgets taken a bit of a hammering today, as I paid up on my marina dues, and I’ve added all my anti-foul bits and bobs.

Trip Stats
Miles: 0
Total Miles: 50
Antifoul £79.00
Paintbrushes £3.49
Roller £7.89
Tape £4.00
Primacon £19.00
Two weeks storage ashore/lift out/lift in/pressure wash down £423.14
Groceries £21.31
Summer trip total expenditure £866.70
Author: Tim Butler

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